The Anonymous Widower

The Future Of Class 378 Trains

This post is a musing on the future of the Class 378 trains.

The Thames Tunnel

The Thames Tunnel is the tail that wags the East London Line, when it comes to trains.

  • For evacuation and safety purposed, trains running through the tunnel, must have an emergency exit through the driver’s cab.
  • It hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know, but a version of Sod’s Law states if you ran trains without this emergency exit, you’d need to use it.
  • London Overground’s Class 378 trains have this feature, but their Class 710 trains do not.

So it would appear that until Bombardier build an Aventra with an emergency exit through the driver’s cab, that the existing Class 378 trains must work all services through the Thames Tunnel.

Incidentally, I can’t think of another long tunnel, that might be served by the London Overground, so it could be that Class 378 trains will be the only trains to go through the Thames Tunnel, until they wear out and need to go to the scrapyard.

Six Car Trains On The East London Line

I covered this in Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains? and I came to this conclusion.

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

It might happen in the future, but it would need expensive platform extensions at Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe and Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations.

Increased Frequency On The East London Line

If five-car Class 378 trains are the limit, the only way to increase capacity of the East London Line would be to increase frequency.

The current frequency of the East London Line is sixteen trains per hour (tph)

There are four tph on each of these routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Two increases are planned.

  • 2018 – 6 tph – Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • 2019 – 6 tph – Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

This would increase the frequency of the East London Line to twenty tph.

It will probably mean an updated digital signalling system on the East London Line.

Eventually, I think it likely, that a full ERTMS system as is fitted to Thameslink and Crossrail will be fitted to at least the East London Line, but possibly the whole Overground network.

Digital signalling would certainly allow the twenty-four tph frequency of Thameslink and CXrossrail, which could mean that the four routes all received a frequency of four tph.

But Thameslink and Crossrail are theoretically capable of handling thirty tph or a train every two minutes, through their central tunnels.

If the two modern multi-billion pound tunnels can handle 30 tph, why can’t their little brother, that started life as a half-million pound pedestrian tunnel in 1843,

The Number Of Trains Needed For The Current Service

If I go through the routes of the original Overground, I find the following.

Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

Trains take 46 minutes to go South and 44 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Dalston Junction And New Cross

Trains take 22 minutes both ways and a round trip would take an hour.

This means that the current four tph service would need four trains.

A six tph service in the future would need six trains.

Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace

Trains take 44 minutes to go South and 43 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Trains take 52 minutes both ways and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

This means that the current four tph on all four routes needs twenty-eight trains.

The Proposed 2020 Service

This will have two extra tph to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction and will need thirty-six trains.

Six Trains Per Hour On All Four Routes

as each route terminates at both ends in a single platform, which can handle six tph, with the right signalling, I feel that this could be the design objective of the East London Line, when it was built in the early-2010s.

This could be achieved with forty-two trains, leaving perhaps twelve to fifteen trains for other duties, depending on how many are needed on stand-by or are in maintenance.

What Could Be Done With Twelve Trains?

As I calculated earlier, three routes need twelve trains to provide a six tph service.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

All three services take between 44 and 52 minutes.

So could another six tph service that takes around this time be added to the current four services?

Willesden Junction As A Northern Terminal

Trains could take the North London Line to Willesden Junction and terminate in the Bay Platform 2.

I estimate the following timings from Willesden Junction.

  • Highbury & Islington – 27 mins
  • Dalston Junction – 31 mins
  • Whitechapel –  – 41 mins
  • New Cross – 49 mins
  • Crystal Palace – 64 mins
  • Clapham Junction – 73 mins.
  • West Croydon – 74 mins

It would appear that the only possible Southern terminal of the current four, would be New Cross, as that is the only terminal within the 44-52 minute range of journey time.

So could a service between Willesden Junction and New Cross replace the current one between Dalston Junction and New Cross?

  • It would need to be run using dual-voltage trains
  • Voltage changeover could be at Highbury & Islington station.
  • Extending the New Cross service would free up a bay platform at Dalston Junction station.
  • It should be possible to have a frequency of six tph.
  • Serious modifications or additions to infrastructure would probably not be required.

As running to Willesden Junction was talked about before the Overground opened, I wonder if the numerous crossovers on the North London Line, already allow trains from the East London Line to terminate at Willesden Junction.

Southern Terminals Via New Cross Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at New Cross station.

Note how the double-track East London Line, shown in orange, arrives from Surrey Quays station arrives in the North-Western corner of the map, becomes a single-track and then goes under the main lines before going into the bay platform D.

This Google Map shows the same area.

The London Overground track is clearly visible.

Could extra track be added, to enable the following?

  • Southbound trains could join the main line and stop in Platform C
  • Northbound could leave the main line after stopping in Platform A and go towards Surrey Quays station.

If this is possible, then trains could run between Dalston Junction and Lewisham stations.

Once at Lewisham they would have choice of Southern terminal,

Hayes As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Hayes stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 53 minutes.
  • Hayes station has two terminal platforms

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

Orpington As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Orpington stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 47  minutes.
  • Orpington station has three terminal platforms.

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

A Combined Hayes And Orpington Service

As a case can be made for services to both Hayes and Orpington via Lewisham, I think the ideal service could be two tph to both Hayes and Orpington.

  • There would be four tph between Dalston Junction and Lewisham.
  • Stations on the East London Line would have access to the important interchange station at Lewisham.
  • Several stations on the routes to Hayes and Orpington would have a two tph service to Crossrail and the Jubilee Line.

Other Stations Via New Cross

Looking at rail maps, there would seem to be several possibilities including with their times from Dalston junction station.

  • Beckenham Junction – 41 mins
  • Bromley North – 40 mins
  • Gove Park – 35 mins

There are probably others.

Southern Terminals Via Peckham Rye Station

As an example Streatham Common station is planned to be a major interchange and is 43 minutes from Dalston Junction.

Would a bay platform work here as an East london Line terminal?

Conclusion

If all fifty-seven Class 378 trains worked the East London Line, they could run six tph on the current routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

It would need forty-two trains.

Suppose the Dalston Junction and New Cross service was replaced with a Willesden Junction and New Cross service.

  • This would provide a useful direct four tph service between East and North London.
  • Changing at Highbury & Islington station would be avoided for a lot of journeys.
  • The journey time wold be around 49 minutes.
  • A two tph service would need four trains.
  • A four tph service would need eight trains.
  • A six tph service would need twelve trains.
  • Many journeys between North and South London would now be possible with just a single same platform interchange.

To run the following frequencies on this route would mean these total frequencies on the East London Line and total numbers of trains.

  • 2 tph – 20 tph – 40 trains
  • 4 tph – 22 tph – 44 trains
  • 6 tph – 24 tph – 48 trains

I think that if the figures are juggled a bit, there is enough trains to run extra services to one or more Southern destinations from Dalston Junction.

My preference would be a split service of 2 tph to both Hayes and Orpington via New Cross, where some new track would be needed.

This would do the following.

  • Create a frequent connection between South-East and North-East London.
  • Both areas would be connected to Crossrail and several Underground Lines, including the future Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • The Hayes Line would be shared between Overground and Southeastern trains.

No more new trains or large amounts of new infrastructure would be needed.

I suspect that London Overground and the new Southeastern franchise can do better than my musings.

 

 

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Has The Canonbury Cross-Over Become More Difficult?

In The Canonbury Cross-Over, I described how it was possible at Canonbury station to change easily from a Westbound train on the North London Line to a Southbound-train on the East London Line.

Services through Canonbury station on the East London Line in trains per hour (tph) are.

  • Four tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations.
  • Four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.

This means that eight tph call in Platform 2 at Canonbury station.

Services through Canonbury station on the North London Line used to be.

  • Four tph between Richmond and Stratford stations.
  • Two tph between Clapham Junction and Stratford stations.

This means that six tph call in Platform 3 at Canonbury station.

Since the December 2018 Timetable Change, two tph have been added to the Clapham Junction service.

So now both services calling at Platform 2/3 have the same frequency of eight tph.

So Why Does The Canonbury Cross-Over Appear To Be More Difficult?

Today, I was coming from Stratford on a Richmond train and was changing to the East London Line to Dalston Junction station, from where I can get a bus from outside the station to my house.

It takes a bit longer, but I was carrying my weekend shopping and as Dalston Junction station has lifts, if you need them and Dalston Kingsland station doesn’t, A lot of passengers, seem to use the Canonbury Cross-Over, when they are going from Stratford to stations on the East London Line.

As my train arrived at Canonbury station, in Platform 3, a Southbound-train was leaving Platform 2. So I had a wait of seven minutes in the rain for the next train to Dalston Junction station.

Since the Timetable Change, it appears that I am having to wait for several minutes a lot more.

Look at these times from the 6th of February. The time is when a train on the North London Line calls in Platform 3 and the integer is the number of minutes before the train calls on the East London Line in Platform 2.

  • 1150 – 7
  • 1157 – 0
  • 1205 – 7
  • 1212 – 0
  • 1220 – 7
  • 1227 – 0
  • 1235 – 7
  • 1242 – 2
  • 1250 – 7
  • 1257 – 0
  • 1305 – 7
  • 1312 – 0
  • 1320 – 7
  • 1327 – 0
  • 1335 – 7
  • 1342 – 0
  • 1353 – 4
  • 1357 – 0
  • 1405 – 7
  • 1312 – 0

In some cases two Southbound trains call between two Westbound ones.

Quite frankly, it’s crap!

Why?

I am no expert on railway timetabling, but if I look at the timetable, it appears that the two trains often seem to be timetabled to arrive at the same time.

As Southbound trains on the East London Line have only come one stop from Highbury & Islington station, are they more likely to be on time, than North London Line trains that have come all the way from Stratford station.

So like today, do North London Line trains arrive after the East London Line train has departed?

Conclusion

The timetable needs to be improved.

Would it be possible to timetable the East London Line trains a couple of minutes after those on the North London Line?

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains?

On the East London Line yesterday, I was in the front car and it was noticeable how passengers moved backwards and forwards along the train so they could find a seat and also get in and out easily at the stations with short platforms.

It got me thinking, about whether six-car trains could be run on the East London Line.

Before I discuss this, I’ll give a few facts. Some are history and some are future plans.

The Original Line

I can remember taking the London Underground  era line between New Cross Gate and Whitechapel stations, to get between Haywards Heath and Mile End stations. I had a client at the former and my youngest son, used to live by the latter.

The trains were four-car A60/62 Stock with a length of just 65 metres!

There were five intermediate stations, which coming North were as follows.

  • Surray Quays
  • Canada Water
  • Rotherhithe
  • Wapping
  • Shadwell

The platforms and those at Whitechapel, were probably not much longer than the original trains.

The platforms have been improved in recent years.

  • When the Jubilee Line was built, Canada Water station was rebuilt, but the platforms on the East London Line were not substantially lengthened.
  • When the Overground was created in the early part of this century, the platforms ended up at their current length of around eighty metres.
  • Recently, to create a better interchange for Crossrail, the platforms at Whitechapel station have been lengthened to around a hundred metres.

So there is now four short platforms on the East London Line.

The Class 378 Trains

The Class 378 trains were originally ordered as three-car trains, which were about sixty metres long.

Was this short length to fit the short platforms or was it because it was felt that these trains would be adequate for the route?

By the time, the trains entered service in 2010, the trains had all been extended to four-cars.

But this was still inadequate and in 2013 an order was placed to lengthen all trains to five cars, which was completed in January 2016.

Fitting Five-Car Trains Into Four-Car Platforms

Travel in the last coach of a train between Shadwell and Canada Water stations and when a station stop is made, you are left in the tunnel.

Some or all the doors don’t open and a announcement tells you, that if you want to get out, you should move forward in the train. This picture shows the last carriages of a train at Canada Water station.

The less-than-perfect arrangement works very well.

  • The walk-through nature of the trains means passengers can easily walk forward if required.
  • The announcements are numerous and clear.
  • Only Canada Water station, with its interchange to the Jubilee Line is a busy station.

But what probably makes the system work so well, is the fact that East Londoners are the World Champions at ducking and diving and they adjust their behaviour to the less-than-perfect arrangement.

The Length Of The Northern Platforms

Travelling home to Dalston Junction station in the last carriage, I got the impression, that all platforms are built to comfortably accept five-car trains.

It also appears that the two central bay platforms at Dalston Junction station were built for five-car trains.

This picture shows Platform 2 at Dalston Junction station.

The Length Of The Southern Platforms

I have looked at nearly all the Southern platforms on all four Southern branches and there seems to be few if any platforms, that couldn’t take a six-car train. It should be noted that most platforms are shared with Southern services which are run by longer trains.

These pictures show Sydenham station.

Platform lengths like these are typical of many stations.

Work would be needed at Platform 2 at Clapham Junction station.

But there is space to extend the platform.

There are no problems at West Croydon station, where it seems all trains now use the bay Platform 1.

There appear to be no plans to increase services to West Croydon station from four tph, but turning the trains in the bay platform might make scheduling easier.

The Rebuilding Of Whitechapel Station

Whitechapel station is being rebuilt to provide an interchange between Crossrail, the District and Hammersmith & City Lines and the East London Line.

  • The rebuilt East London Line platforms appear to be long enough for six-car trains.
  • There will be two footbridges over the East London Line.
  • There will be lifts and possibly escalators.

It will be a major high-capacity interchange.

The connection to Crossrail at Whitechapel station may actually take pressure from the Canada Water station.

Will passengers from the Northern section of the East London Line change at Whitechapel for Crossrail, if they are going to the West End or Canary Wharf, rather than using the Jubilee Line from Canada Water station.

As Crossrail will open up a large number of new routes, I believe, Whitechapel station will become one of the most important interchanges in East London.

East London Line Frequency Will Be Increased

This table shows Transport for London’s plas for the London Overground.

Note.

  1. In 2018, two extra trains per hour (tph) are planned to be run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  2. In 2019, two extra tph are planned to be run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.

This will mean that the frequency through the core of the East London Line will rise from 16 tph to 20 tph. This will be a train every three minutes.

It also means that the London Overground will be running ten tph between Whitechapel and Sydenham stations, with a call at New Cross Gate, which could become an important interchange.

Platforms Would Need To Be Lengthened

I think that, unless someone can come up with an innovative solution, that there will need to be some platform l;lengthening  to accommodate six car trains on the East Londoin Line.

The tricky problem would be extending the platforms at Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe and Canada Water stations.

Could Frequencies Be Increased?

After the increase of frequencies to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction to four tph, there will be twenty tph, through the core of the East London Line.

With five-car trains, this would be a hundred cars per hour and with six-car trains, it would be 120 cars per hour.

Suppose another four tph, were to be squeezed through the core, then this would be 24 tph. With five-car trains, this would be 120 cars per hour.

There would be two main alternatives to increase the frequency.

  • Run six tph on all the four routes.
  • Add a new route, with a frequency of four tph.

Note.

  1. Twenty-four tph, is a frequency that is proposed for Crossrail and Thameslink using digital signalling.
  2. There will be one train every two and a half minutes.
  3. No major engineering work would be required at the stations with short platforms.

I very much feel, that increasing the frequency of trains, will be more affordable than using six-car trains.

The Problem Of Creating Six-Car Trains

Note these points about running trains through the core of the East London Line.

  • Class 378 trains have an end door, so that passengers can be evacuated in the Thames Tunnel.
  • Aventras don’t have end doors and would need to be updated.
  • Five-car Class 378 trains can be replaced by Aventras on the North London Line and the Watford DC Line, to release more trains for the East London Line.

But the biggest problem, is probably that Bombardier don’t make Electrostars any more, and the factory ihas been turned over to Aventra production.

Conclusion

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

 

 

 

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Latest On The New London Overground Class 710 Trains

The August 2018 Edition of Modern Railways has a two-page article on the latest on the new Class 710 trains for the London Overground.

Seating Arrangement

Wikipedia says this about the seating.under Background And Specifications.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC-only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services.

But it now appears that all the seats on the trains will be longitudinal ones.

I use the current trains a lot to go to Walthamstow and I also use the Class 378 trains, which have longitudinal seats, frequently on the North and East London Lines of the Overground.

I probably aren’t bothered too much about longitudinal seats, but I suspect there will be others who will complain.

This discussion of RailForums is entitled Annoying Things About The Class 378. Search for “seat” and you don’t find many complaints about the longitudinal seating, which is also used on much of the Underground.

On the other hand, if all the trains have identical interiors, this must save on construction and maintenance costs.

If the interiors are basically similar to the Class 378 trains, it must also save on staff training costs.

I actually think, that the biggest complaint will not be about the new trains, but why don’t the older Class 378 trains have wi-fi and USB charging points!

Eight-Car Trains On West Anglia Routes

The article also states that services on West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations will work as eight-car trains or a pair of four-car trains.

If they are always working in pairs, why not build them as eight-car trains in the first place?

In A Detailed Layout Drawing For A Class 345 Train, I said that the formation of a Class 345 train for Crossrail is as follows.

DMS+PMS+MS1+MS3+TS(W)+MS3+MS2+PMS+DMS

Note.that the train is composed of two identical half-trains, which are separated by the TS(W) car.

As the Modern Railways article says that these trains are to be the last to be delivered, would it not be sensible to fully understand the four-car units and then decide if instead of pairs of four-car units, they were built as eight-cars.

Consider.

  • Trains would be formed of identical four-car half-trains.
  • An eight-car Class 710 train would be nearly fifty metres shorter than a nine-car Class 345 train.
  • Passengers would be able to walk through the whole train.
  • Passengers can position themselves for their best exit at their destination station.
  • Would passenger security be better on a train, where passengers could walk all the way through?
  • I have seen drivers on Class 345 trains change ends inside the train
  • Aventras and other modern trains are fitted with intelligent control systems, that determine the number and type of the intermediate cars in the train.
  •  Two Driving Motor Standard Cars (DMS) would be replaced with simpler Trailer Standard (TS) or Motor Standard (MS) cars.
  • The choice of a TS or MS car would depend partly on performance issues, which could be tested with the earlier four-car trains.
  • Building and maintenance cost savings by reducing the number of driving cars, must be possible.
  • Capacity could be increased by adding cars in the middle, if platforms were long enough!
  • Would providing overnight stabling for fifteen eight-car trains be easier than for thirty four-car trains?

It should also be noted, Cheshunt station has a very long platform without a roof. Passengers could walk to the front of the train inside a warm dry train. This already happens with the Class 378 trains at Highbury & Islington station.

Romford-Upminster Shuttle

The Modern Railways article says this about the service on the Romford-Upminster Line.

TfL is still considering whether to utilise a ‘710’ on the Romford to Upminster shuttle or to retain an older unit for the line.

I wrote about this in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line, after this article in London Reconnections, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated,   said that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

I came to this conclusion.

If it is decided that a Class 315 train is to be used on the Romford to Upminster Line, I believe that the service could be marketed as a quirky heritage unit, that in conjunction with its main purpose of providing a public service, could also be used for other education, training, marketing, innovation and research purposes.

Eversholt Rail Group might even shift a few redundant Class 315 trains!

Why not?

Chingford Upgrades

The Modern Railways article says this.

A £7million investment has seen the stabling facility at Chingford upgraded, including the addition of an AVIS-scanner here as well.

These pictures show the investment.

With the Automatic Vehicle Inspection System (AVIS), Chingford is becoming more than a stabling facility.

Note the large maintenance structure, so that trains can be worked on in the dry.

A Few Questions Of My Own

I have a few of my own questions.

If The Thirty Four-Car Trains For West Anglia Routes Are Converted To Eight-Cars, What Happens To The Spare Driving Motor Cars?

If the thirty four-car trains are converted to fifteen eight-car trains, it appears to me that Bombardier could  have at best many of the long-lead components for thirty Driving Motor Standard (DMS) cars. At worst, they would have thirty DMS cars for Class 710 trains.

But London Overground will have need for a few more trains in a few years.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I showed this London Overground table of improvements.

LO Improvements

Note that two extra tph are proposed on the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town service. I calculate, that this would need another two Class 710 Trains.

Similarly, to add two tph to the Liverpool Street to Cheshunt service, would appear to need another three trains.

The Mayor is also looking favourably at creating the West London Orbital Railway.

I estimate that the two proposed routes would need around four trains each to provide a four tph service, if they could be run using dual-voltage Class 710 trains with a range of perhaps ten miles on battery power.

What Is Happening About The Hall Farm Curve?

I heard from someone, who should know, that the Hall Farm Curve and the Coppermill Curve will be reinstated.

These curves would allow the following.

  •  A direct service between Chingford/Walthamstow and Stratford.
  • Better access to the upgraded stabling at Chingford.

But I think these curves would be invaluable in maintaining services, during the construction of Crossrail 2.

Will A Bay Platform Be Developed At Lea Bridge Station?

I also wonder if a bay platform will be developed at Lea Bridge station, which would enable a four tph service to be run between Lea Bridge and Chingford stations, if Chingford Branch trains couldn’t get into Liverpool Street station, because of construction works.

I certainly feel that the curves connecting the lines at Coppermill Junction will have a major part to play in the development of East London’s railways.

 

 

 

July 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calls For London Overground Extension To Lewisham

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

This is the first paragraph.

Lewisham council has issued a call for the Overground to be extended to Lewisham town centre as part of a wider series of improvements to the local rail and DLR networks.

To extend the Overground from New Cross station, Overground trains would need to be able to cross over to the tracks through the station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks at the station.

There are four Overground trains from Dalston Junction station and they terminate in the bay Platform D.

Note how the Overground skirts round New Cross Depot to get to the platform.

This Google Map shows the curve of the Overground Line and what lies between the lines out of London Bridge station and the Overground.

It looks to be the old New Cross depot and a green space surrounded by rail tracks, that is all inaccessible to the public.

I took these pictures as I passed.

Note.

  1. The Lines out of London Bridge are much higher.
  2. It’s quite a big space.
  3. It might be possible to connect the Overground to the down slow line, that goes through Placform C at New Cross station.
  4. It would need a tunnel under the lines out of London Bridge to connect to the up slow line, which is goes through Platform A at New Cross station.
  5. I suspect this connection would be difficult and the lines would have to be slewed to the West, so that trains could dive under the down slow line.
  6. Do Network Rail want to cause all the grief at London Bridge, whilst they built the junction.

It could be a challenging and very expensive project.

It might even be impossible!

On the other hand, it might be possible using flat junctions, but this line is busy and building and operating  them could be the stff of  nightmares.

Trains Services At New Cross Station

Wikipedia says these are the service frequencies at New Cross station in trains per hour (tph)

  • 10 northbound to Cannon Street
  • 4 northbound to Dalston Junction or sometimes Highbury & Islington
  • 2 southbound to Hayes
  • 4 southbound to Cannon Street via Sidcup, or via Bexleyheath and then returning via Greenwich
  • 2 southbound to Orpington, calling at all stations
  • 2 southbound to Tunbridge Wells, non-stop to Orpington then all stations

Merging ten trains to and from Cannon Street with four trains to and from Dalston Junction could be extremely difficult.

It should be said that the interchange between Overground services arriving at New Cross and Southbound services on Southeastern is just a walk across between Platform D and C, which is shown in the picture below.

Note the Overground train in Platform D.

It appears that most Overground trains from Dalston Junction, connect to a Lewisham train after between five and ten minutes.

As there is a coffee stall on the station, on a cold day, you can buy a hot drink.

The problem is coming North, as you have to use the step-free foot bridge from Platform A.

Too many times, I’ve negotiated the bridge only to arrive on Platform D, to watch the Overground train disappearing.

Increasing Frequency On The Overground

Currently, the frequency of trains on the East London Line is as follows.

  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to New Cross
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington West Croydon via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction

In the next couple of years, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction services will be raised to six tph. I wrote about this in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line.

This will mean that New Cross Gate will have ten tph on the East London Line, as against four at New Cross.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to increase the Dalston Junction to New Cross service to six tph, but this would reduce the wait, when changing at New Cross to go North.

The Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, so perhaps in the future, East London Line passengers will go via New Cross Gate.

New Cross Interchange

I have read, that Transport for London would like to make it easier to change between New Cross and New Cross Gate stations.

Conclusion

Extension of the Overground to Lewisham will be extremely difficult and other developments will improve rail transport in South-East
London

 

 

 

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts On The Camden High Line

Last night, I was made aware of the Camden High Line proposal.

On their web site, they say this is their mission.

Our mission is to transform the disused railway into a sustainable green space and transport link that is open for and used by everyone.

Here are my thoughts.

The Railway Line In Question

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the disused railway tracks.

Note.

  1. The line shown in orange is the North London Line of the London Overground.
  2. Camden Road is a two-platform station, with full step-free access.
  3. Maiden Lane is a disused station, that closed a hundred years ago.

I would assume that the two dotted lines between the two stations, will be converted into the Camden High Line.

This Google Map shows the North London Line between Camden Road and Maiden Lane stations.

One of the most striking features visible from this map, is the large amount of development going on to the South of the North London Line.

The new residents and workers could probably do with a good walking and cycling route between Camden Town and Kings Cross.

Plans For The North London Line

The North London Line is a heavily-used passenger and freight route and it is unlikely, that traffic levels will drop.

Freight Traffic

There are now two electrified rail routes across North London; the North London Line and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

As two of the UK’s main container ports; Felixstowe and London Gateway, are not served by electrified railways, this still means that large numbers of diesel-hauled freight trains have to pass through North London to get to the Midlands, North and Scotland, despite the routes from Ipswich and Tilbury being fully-electrified.

These diesel-freight trains are boosted because the alternative  route via Ipswich, Ely and Peterborough is not electrified.

The following needs to be done to seriously cut the number of diesel-hauled freight trains through North London.

  • Electrify Ipswich to Felixstowe.
  • Electrify to London Gateway.
  • Electrify Ipswich to Peterborough.
  • Replace a large fleet of polluting diesel Class 66 locomotives with modern electric units.

In some ways, the replacement of the locomotives by private freight companies is the largest stumbling block.

However, I think that the two shorter lengths of electrification will happen, which will mean that less diesel-hauled freight trains will pass through London, as they will go via Peterborough.

On the other hand, the need for freight trains will increase.

  • More traffic to and from the ports.
  • Freight to and from the Channel Tunnel, which must go through London.
  • Trains carrying vehicles seem to be becoming more numerous.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see calls from the rail freight industry for improvements to the two freight routes through London.

One thing that will help freight trains, would be extra passing loops, where freight trains can wait for the passenger trains to overtake.

The double track of the Camden High Line is one of the few places, where another freight loop could possibly be installed.

Passenger Traffic

Sometime this year, two extra passenger trains per hour (tph) will run on the North London Line between Stratford and Clapham Junction stations.

This will bring the frequency to six tph.

On the past history of the London Underground, this will mean more full trains and pressure for longer trains and more services.

Old Oak Common Station

But the biggest changes will come in the next few years with a new Old Oak Common station, which will connect the North London Line to HS2, Crossrail, Chiltern, Great Western Railway and the West Coast Main Line.

Remember too, that the North London Line will be connected to Crossrail at Stratford.

Will these developments create a demand for extra trains on the North London Line?

Camden Town Station

Camden Town station on the Northern Line is being extended, with a new Northern entrance closer to the North London Line.

Will better routes be provided between Camden Road and Camden Town stations?

Interchange Between Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town station’s new entrance will be to the North of the current entrance just off Kentish Town Road.

This Google Map, shows the Western end of Camden Road station.

Note.

  1. There is a train in the Westbound platform.
  2. Kentish Town Road meets the station by Camden Gardens.
  3. The overgrown unused tracks to the North of the current station.
  4. The green space of Camden Gardens, with the 88 bus stand.

Could a second entrance to Camden Road station be built within the viaduct, perhaps with a ground-level entrance in Camden Gardens?

  • It would be a short walk to the new entrance to Camden Town station.
  • It would be convenient for walking to Camden Lock and the other attractions along the Regents Canal.

If the Camden High Line is created, access to the Eastbound platform could be directly to and from the High Line, which would be a garden to the North of the station.

 

Maiden Lane Station

Wikipedia says this about the re-opening of Maiden Lane station.

Camden Council has suggested this station could be rebuilt and reopened, in conjunction with the King’s Cross Central redevelopment project.

In June 2017, the Council were talking with Tfl on the possible reopening of Maiden Lane & York Road stations which it wished to reopen with Maiden Lane more likely to reopen then York Road.

I suspect, if the station is reopened, it will be on the Southern pair of lines, currently used by the London Overgr4ound.

One of the problems of reopening Maiden Lane station, is that a stop at the station would decrease capacity on the North London Line, through the area.

Plans For The East London Line

The East London Line is one of the UK’s rail successes of the last few years.

An outpost of the London Underground, through a tunnel, built by the Brunels, was turned into a modern railway with new trains and sixteen tph all day.

But this is only a start!

Plans exist for more new trains, an extra fout tph through the tunnel and a possible uprating of the signalling to handle a frequency to 24 tph.

If the latter should happen, I feel that another Northern terminal will be needed for the East London Line.

The obvious terminal is Willesden Junction station.

  • Willesden Junction was certainly mentioned, when the London Overground was opened.
  • There is a bay platform at the station.
  • ,The station can be reached via Camden Road, Primrose Hill, South Hampstead, Kilburn High Road, Queen’s Park and Kensal Green stations.
  • It will have good connections to an extended Bakerloo Line.

It would create another route across North London.

Would it mean extra platforms at Camden Road station?

 

Conclusion

I think that there will be a very large demand for using the two old tracks for rail purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Contractor Chosen For The Work On London Overground’s East London Line

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Railway Review.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced the appointment of Cleshar Contract Services Limited to take over the maintenance work. The new contract is subject to 10 days standstill period and should commence on 1 April 2018.

The contract was given with the agreement that existing Carillion employees will be transferred over to Cleshar with terms and conditions protected. Until the handover date TfL will supply guarantees to support continued work and pay for the Carillion staff.

It seems good for the former Carillion employees, but who are Cleshar Contract Services Limited?

This page from the Cleshar web site describes the company structure, which was formed in 1992.

The unusual connection, I have with the company, is that they are based in one of Metier’s former offices alongside the North Circular Road.

So you can’t say they waste their money on flash premises.

 

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Four Trains Per Hour Between Dalston Junction And Battersea Park Stations

Normally, there is only one train per day in both directions between Dalston Junction and Battersea Park stations.

Wikipedia says this about the service.

Until December 2012, Southern operated a twice-hourly service from London Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill. This ceased when London Overground’s Clapham Junction to Dalston Junction service commenced at that time. However, since December 2012, a skeleton London Overground service has run to/from Battersea Park (instead of Clapham Junction) at the extreme ends of the day to retain a “parliamentary service” between Battersea Park and Clapham High Street.

But today, London Overground were running four trains per hour between Dalston Junction and Battersea Park stations, as there was a track fault, which meant trains couldn’t get between Wandsworth Road and Clapham Junction stations.

I took these pictures on my journey.

It certainly looked, like London Overground weren’t having much trouble, in running four trains per hour between Dalston Junction and Battersea Park stations.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Musical Trains On The Overground

The November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways (MR) has a news item entitled Nine More Class 710s Planned.

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London is proposing the acquisition of nine additional Class 710 EMUs from Bombardier to support the London Overground rxtension to Barking Riverside and an enhanced service on the East London Line.

Transport for London (TfL)  are ordering six five-car and three four-car Class 710 trains.

This article on London Reconnections (LR) is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated.

The title gives a clue as to the first part of the article and it talks about how it may be necessary for TfL to get their order in now to get the best terms and price for the trains.

Putting the two articles together, some interesting train use could be happening on the various lines of the Overground.

The East London Line

Certain improvements have been planned for the East London Line.

The Class 378 Trains

The current fleet of 57 Class 378 trains are now five cars in length, after starting at just three cars.

Many of the stations on the East London Line could accept six-car trains and the other could be worked using selective door opening.

So TfL probably have an option to increase capacity on the East London Line by twenty percent, by adding an extra car to the Class 378 trains on the line.

The Class 378 trains are also certified for working the Thames Tunnel, whereas the Class 710 trains don’t appear they will be.

The Night Overground

A 24-hour service on Friday and Saturday nights, between New Cross and Dalston Junction/Highbury and Islington stations.

Crossrail And The East London Line

This will happen in December 2018, when Stage 3 of Crossrail opens between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations, with a connection to the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

When you consider that Whitechapel will be served by 12 x nine-car Crossrail trains per hour (tph) from December 2018 and 24 x nine-car tph from May 2019, you do wonder if the East London Line’s sixteen x five-car tph will cope with the extra passengwe.

Increased Frequencies

TfL have said they will increase the core frequency of the East London Line from sixteen tph to twenty in 2021.

I wrote about this two years ago in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, so the plan is an old one, even if it has slipped a bit.

The original plan envisaged the following extra trains on the East London Line.

  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Crystal Palace in 2018
  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction in 2019

It would need the following.

  • More Class 378 trains, as the Class 710 trains are not certified for the Thames Tunnel.
  • Improved digital signalling in the core, which would eventually enable twenty-four tph.

The LR article suggests that there may be capacity problems at Clapham Junction station and two tph to Battersea Park station is suggested as an alternative.

Battersea Park Station

Battersea Park station is already served by the Overground, with this service, which is detailed in Wikipedia.

1 train per day to Highbury & Islington / 1 train per day from Dalston Junction.

Wikipedia adds this comment.

Until December 2012, Southern operated a twice-hourly service from London Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill. This ceased when London Overground’s Clapham Junction to Dalston Junction service commenced at that time. However, since December 2012, a skeleton London Overground service has run to/from Battersea Park (instead of Clapham Junction) at the extreme ends of the day to retain a “parliamentary service” between Battersea Park and Clapham High Street.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Battersea Park station.

Note.

  1. The single track going in to Platform 2.
  2. Platform 1 at Battersea Park station is disused.
  3. The close proximity of the station to the new Battersea Power Station station, that opens in a few years.

These are some selected pictures of Battersea Park station.

I think it is true to say, that it is a Victorian station, that wasn’t designed for the modern age.

  • The station is Grade II Listed.
  • The booking hall is a tidy Victorian example.
  • There is a lot of excellent Victorian detailing.
  • Platform 2 and 3 is wide with sensible stairs.
  • Platform 2 is a well laid out terminal platform.
  • Platform 4 and 5 is narrow with terrible stairs.
  • Plstforms 3 and 4 seem to be long enough for ten-car trains.

It could be turned into what Roy Brooks would have called something better than a ruin. For those of you born since 1960, check the link to a memory of one of the world’s late great honest estate agents.

I’m sure Londoners used to buy the Sunday Times, just to read his adverts.

I can remember my late wife sitting on the sofa, laughing loudly, as she read aloud an advert about a flat, that wouldn’t suit an owner with a cat,.

Battersea Park station and a two tph service from Dalston Junction across South London have a lot going for them.

  • I’m sure a budding Lord Foster or Zaha Hadid could come up with a scheme to fix the platform access and make the station passenger friendly and their name.
  • The station is a short walk from Battersea Power Station station and must open up routes across London.
  • Battersea Park station could easily handle two tph on a single platform.
  • In A New Station For Battersea, I talked about a proposal to create a station at Battersea that linked the new tube station to the Southeastern lines into Victoria.
  • In Four Trains Per Hour Between Dalston Junction And Battersea Park Stations, I write about how on the 6th November 2017, because of a track fault, London Overground ran a four tph shuttle between the two terminals.

Will all of this be tied together?

Train Requirements On The East London Line

Doing a quick calculation, I think that each of the four branches need the following number of trains for four tph.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 8 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 26 trains.

Up the frequency to six tph on each branch or one train every 2½ minutes, which would be 24 tph through the Thames Tunnel and you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 3 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 12 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 39 trains.

If you just have an increase to six tph on just the Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace routes as London Overground are proposing for 2020, you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 34 trains, providing a service of one train every 3 minutes, which would be 20 tph through the Thames Tunnel.

This is eight more trains than at the present time.

It’s all rather impressive for the Thames Tunnel, which was built between 1825 and 1843, by the Brunels.

The Ultimate Capacity Of The East London Line

If we look perhaps ten years into the future, the following will have happened.

  • Signalling will have improved.
  • Crossrail will be running more than 24 tph through Whitechapel.
  • Automatic Train Operation (ATO) will be driving the trains, with the driver keeping a vigilant watch, just as happens on the Victoria Line now!
  • Passenger information and management will have improved and passengers will be able to handle the increased frequency of trains easily.

So if Dear Old Vicky can manage thirty-six tph in a 1960’s tunnel, will the East London Line be able to manage the same frequency in an 1840’s tunnel?

The Brunels would have made sure it happened and if it is needed, so will their engineering successors!

Let’s cut it back a bit and aim for 32 tph through the Thames Tunnel, as that was the sort of target engineers were looking at, for the Victoria Line in the 2000s, when the East London Line was being proposed.

How many trains will be needed to run the eight tph on the four routes, that would comprise thirty-two tph through the Thames Tunnel?

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 16 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 16 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 16 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 52 trains.

The London Overground has fifty-seven Class 378 trains. I can’t believe that the original fleet was sized on eight tph in operation through the tunnel and a few as hot spares and in maintenance!

But surely eight tph is impossible, as turning the trains at the terminal platforms would be too much!

Think again!

  • The Victoria Line at Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations handles 36 tph using two platforms or 18 tph per platform.
  • The Northern Line is targeting 36 tph on both lines, when it has been split into two.

With ATO, I’m sure each terminal platform can handle more than eight tph.

More Trains On The East London Line

According to the LR article, the planned new services on the East London Line will require another eight trains. This fits with my calculation.

  • These trains have to be Class 378 trains, due to evacuation issues in the Thames Tunnel.
  • These trains have to be able to work on lines with third-rail electrification.

London Overground has ordered six five-car Class 710 trains and they will be run on the North London Line and West London Line, where they will displace some five-car Class 378 trains for running on the East London Line.

Some five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line will also be replaced by four-car Class 710 trains.

So it would look like the East London Line will get some of the eight Class 378 trains that it needs.

Improvements To The North London Line/West London Line

The LR article says this.

London Overground have a long-held desire to increase the frequency on the WLL from 4tph to 6tph. They also aspire to another 2tph (at least) from Clapham Junction continuing to Stratford, to further increase the frequency on the North London Line (NLL). This would enable 10tph on eastern end of the North London line. This is due to be implemented with with main order of the new Class 710 stock.

The article also suspects that London Overground want to run the following services.

  • 6 tph – Stratford to Richmond
  • 6 tph – Stratford to Clapham Junction

This would deliver a twelve tph service between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

Living about halfway between those two stations, I’m not complaining.

But the article concludes, that London Overground’s objective can’t be achieved until some freight is moved to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line after the electrification of that line is completed.

As I said earlier, the pair of lines will get six extra five-car Class 710 trains and displace some Class 378 trains to the East London Line.

So will London Overground stick with a mixed fleet on these lines? Or will they perhaps run one class on each route?

I have no idea, but there are quite a few Class 378 trains, that could be displaced by new Class 710 trains to allow the East London Line frequency to be increased.

The Watford DC Line

Currently the Watford DC Line has a three tph service and I suspect that this needs six five-car Class 378 trains to run it.

The LR article says that London Overground want to run four tph on this line and I calculate this will need eight four-car Class 710 trains.

The new trains will probably be a few minutes faster and they will offer an hourly capacity increase of six percent.

But they will release six five-car Class 378 trains to strengthen services on the North, East and West London Lines.

Step-Free Access

Step-free access from platform to train is not good on the Watford DC Line.

You step up into a Class 378 train and step down into a Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock train.

These pictures show the problem with the Class 1972 trains. When I got off one of these trains at Willesden today it was a jump.

It is some of the worst step-free access on the Underground.

On my short trip on the Bakerloo Line today, I deliberately sat in the last carriage. On most stations the the last carriage was aligned with the end of the platform, which leads me to the conclusion, that most stations are about as long as the trains, which are over 110 metres long.

Can a step-free platform be designed, that will work with the following trains?

  • The current Class 378 trains
  • The future Class 710 trains
  • The current Underground 1972 Stock.
  • Any future deep-level Underground trains

The latter could make design more difficult, if the train is built for Unattended Train Operation (UTO) and if platform edge doors are needed at all stations with UTO.

The only solution I can think of, is one that is used in Karlsruhe in Germany and is now being used at Rotherham Central station to accommodate main line trains and Class 399 tram-trains.

The platform is long enough to have two sections, with different platform heights.

  • A high section is used with the main line trains.
  • A low section is used with the Underground trains.
  • Platform edge doors could be fitted to the low section.
  • A gentle slope would connect the two sections.
  • Entry to the combined platform could be near where the two sections join.

Also, consider the following.

  • Given that the length of a Class 710 train is around 80 metres and that of a 1972 stock is in excess of 110 metres, it will be a long platform.
  • Selective door opening will be installed on all trains.
  • I do wonder, if the new trains for the Watford DC Line are only four cars to ease the problem of step-free access. The reduced length could knock twenty metres off every platform.
  • Could we even see the new Underground trains built to a shorter length?

I’m sure that a workable platform design is possible.

The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to the South, but nothing has been said about how it will be changed in the North.

Possibilities for Northern terminals for the line could include.

  • Queen’s Park
  • Stonebridge Park
  • Harrow and Wealdstone
  • Watford Junction

It’s also complicated because the depot is at Stonebridge Patk.

I wouldn’t rule out extending the of the Bakerloo Line to Watford Junction, as is talked about in Wikipedia under Re-extension to Watford Junction.

What would be the consequences, if the following were to be done?

  • An extended Bakerloo Line has an increased frequency of at least twenty tph between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • The new trains for the Bakerloo Line are faster.
  • The new Bakerloo Line trains had a capacity increase from the current 700, so they carried about the same as the five-car Class 378 trains.

The increased frequency of Bakerloo Line service, would probably result in London Overground’s Euston to Watford service to be discontinued.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • Stations from Queen’s Park to Watford Junction would get a more frequent service, of possibly a train every three minutes.
  • The problems of step-free access and platform-edge doors would be solved, as all trains would be on the Bakerloo Line.
  • London Overground would not need any platforms at Euston, which could help in the rebuilding of Euston for HS2.

It would also mean that London Underground got another high-frequency Underground Line without any junctions, that could be run very efficiently.

But it would mean Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations would lose their connection to Euston.

A Willesden Junction To Stratford Via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and Primrose Hill Service

Reopening Primrose Hill station has been mooted in the past. This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.

A reopened Primrose Hill station, would only be a short walk to Chalk Farm station.

At Willesden junction station, there is even a convenient South-facing bay platform, that is numbered 2 and could handle four tph.

The picture shows a Class 378 train in Platform 2 at Willesden Junction station, was taken on Sunday, the 2nd of October 2016, during engineering works, when a Rail Replacement Train was run between Willesden Junction and Stratford stations.

But there are problems.

  • Where would you terminate the service at its Eastern end? Highbury and Islington, Stratford or somewhere else, like perhaps a reopened Maiden Lane station?
  • Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations sill lose their srtvoce to Euston and they would have to change at Highbury and Islington.
  • Organising the time-table might be difficult.
  • I also think, it would mean that Kensal Green station would be very difficult to make step-free, if it had to be served by both Overground and Bakerloo Line trains.

On the other hand, Queen’s Park station is an excellent example of a step-free cross-platform interchange between the two types of trains and Willesden Junction station could be equally good.

Crossrail, The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

All these three lines either serve Watford Junction or it has been suggested that they do.

  • Plans to extend Crossrail up the West Coast Main Line would probably include a stop at Watford Junction, if they materialise.
  • Extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction is suggested from time-to-time.
  • The Watford DC Line already serves Watford Junction station.

Given that a high-frequency efficient extended Bakerloo Line running between Watford Junction and Lewisham would serve the smaller stations on the way to Watford very capably, I suspect that whatever happens to Crossrail and the Watford DC services, the Bakerloo Line will be extended to Watford Junction.

The extended Bakerloo Line would have the following characteristics.

  • Probably all trains running between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • A frequency of upwards of 20 tph
  • No junctions and end-to-end running like the Victoria and Jubilee Lines.
  • Full step-free access at all stations.
  • New faster, walk-through trains with wi-fi and 4G.
  • An efficient connection to Crossrail at Paddington will be opened in December 2018.
  • National Rail connections at Charing Cross, Elephant and Castle, Lreisham, Marylebone, Paddington, Waterloo and Watford Junction

It may be London’s forgotten line, but once extended, it could be a new star. Especially, if it gets to be linked directly into Old Oak Common station for all the services including HS2, that will be available there.

The Watford DC Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail, which makes me feel, that when everything gets decided about the extended Bakerloo Line and the new station at Old Oak Common, then the Watford DC Line could miss out.

Through Running Between North And East London Lines

I seem to remember reading in Modern Railways about ten years ago, that there was an ambition in TfL to extend some East London Line trains to Willesden Junction.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines at Highbury and Islington station.

Note the single line labelled Transfer, that connects Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to the Westbound North London Line, that runs through Platform 7.

I think it would be possible to make Platform 2 into a bi-directional through platform.

  • All Westbound trains on the Westbound North London Line would leave from the island platform between platforms 2 and 7.
  • Voltage changeover between 750 VDC and 25 KVAC would take place in Platform 2.
  • A four tph service in both directions would mean a train every 7-8 minutes.
  • The four-track section of the North London Line between Highbury and Islington and Camden Road stations, includes two reversible lines.

Was this all future-proofing to allow services to run between the North London and East London Lines?

It is interesting to note, that Platform 2 is used for services to and from West Croydon station.

These services take around 51-55 minutes and currently need eight trains for a four tph service.

This screen capture shows the train timetable, when I rode between Highbury and Islington and Willesden Junction stations.

Note that the journey takes 22 minutes.

I am led to the conclusion, that it would be possible to run a  service between West Croydon and Willesden Junction stations.

The service would run via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and and a reopened Primrose Hill stations.

It would have a frequency of four tph.

Trains would change voltage at Highbury and Islington station.

I would certainly like the service for these reasons.

  • I regularly travel along the North London Line from the West to Dalston Junction station. The change between the North and East London Lines at Highbury and Islington can be very busy.
  • Going West along the North London Line from Dalston Junction can involve a lot of walking up and down at Highbury and Islington station.
  • Using Dalston Kingsland station to go East can be difficult, as there are masses of passengers changing between rge two Dalston stations.
  • I like to go to Primrose Hill and London Zoo.
  • Could the service also ease the pressure on Camden Town station, until the upgrade is complete?

I have no idea if London Overground would do this, but if there was a vote, I’d say yes!

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I have never seen a detailed analysis of running trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin).

Currently, eight Class 172 trains provide the four tph service. Consider this round trip.

  • Leave Gospel Oak station at 09:05
  • Arrive Barking station at 09:42
  • Leave Barking station at 10.03
  • Arrive Gospel Oak station at 10.45

Note.

  1. It is a very generous timetable.
  2. There is a twenty minute turn-round time at both ends of the route, which is good for recovering the timetable after a delay.
  3. The Class 710 trains could save time at every one of the ten stops, as they accelerate faster, have smooth regenerative braking and should have a better platform-train interface.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the Class 710 trains could run a faster service on the line.

Extending Services To Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station will only be a short distance from Barking station and I suspect, it would only add ten minutes at most to the end-to-end journey time.

As there is a twenty minute turn-round time, I suspect that a train will be able to go from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside and back again in under two hours.

This would mean that the current service of four tph could be possible on the extended route, with the same fleet of eight trains.

This is said in the MR article about the Class 710 trains.

The remaining two additional four-car units would support the extension of Gospel Oak to Barking services to Barking Riverside.

This leads me to one of these conclusions.

  • The service is going to be extended somewhere else.
  • The frequency on the route is going to be increased to five tph.

The next few sections deal with the various options.

Extending To The West Along The North London Line From Gospel Oak

I sometimes change between the GOBLin and the North London Line, as I can get a convenient bus from my house to Harringay Green Lanes station.

Allowing GOBLin services to continue along the North London Line would need extensive and expensive remodelling of Gospel Oak station to create an Eastbound plstform for the GOBLin.

The tracks to the West of the station, would probably need to remodelled to allow efficient operation.

The GOBLin trains would also be four-car trains, as opposed to the five-car trains on the North London Line.

Extending To The North Along The Midland Main Line

By using the Carlton Road Junction after Upper Holloway station, GOBLin trains could access the Thameslink tracks and go North to a convenient station.

Unfortunately, the track layout is such, that crossing to the Dudding Hill Line is difficult.

But continuing to the proposed Brent Cross Thameslink station is surely a possibility.

Although, I can’t see anything happening until plans for the West London Orbital Railway are agreed and Brent Cross Thameslink station is opened.

So it can probably be discounted for a few years yet!

Extending Across The Thames From Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station is being built so that an extension under the Thames is possible.

But as a tunnel would be involved, I can’t see this extension being started or even planned fully for several years.

Five tph On The GOBLin

If two extra trains are added to the GOBLin fleet, this would mean that there are ten trains, which would be enough to run a five tph service between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside stations.

I think this will be the most likely use of the two extra trains on the GOBlin.

Romford To Upminster

The Romford To Upminster Line is slated to get a brand-new Class 710 train to work the two tph shuttle.

The DR article says that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

This would mean a new Class 710 train could be deployed elsewhere, where its performance and comfort levels would be more needed.

Surely, this would be enough capacity for the line and a lot cheaper than a new Class 710 train! Provided of course, that it was reliable, comfortable and could maintain the current two tph service.

I discuss this in detail in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line.

Conclusion

It looks like Transport for London are planning for a large increase in services on the East London Line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments